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SOMO hosts fun-filled 27th Annual Gary Brimer Sports Camp at Training for Life Campus

Gary Brimer Sports Camp Group Photo

JEFFERSON CITY – 68 Special Olympics Missouri athletes, including 33 newcomers, had an amazing experience at the 27th Annual Gary Brimer Sports Camp at the Training for Life Campus, June 18-23.

“It makes me feel happy and joyful because I meet new friends,” SOMO athlete Emma Michaelsen said.

Throughout the week, the campers participated in multiple sports, including soccer, powerlifting, pickleball, volleyball and many more. Campers also learned different skills through life training programs.

“SOMO means everything to me.” SOMO athlete Alaina Toliver said. “It means joy.”

SOMO athlete Olivia Dixon added, “It’s fun meeting new friends.”

Those new friends included members of Mid-Missouri’s Fellowship of Christian athletes. They came out to camp for an afternoon to compete alongside SOMO athletes.

The campers also had several opportunities to improve their health during the week. Stephens College nursing students and State Fair Community College dental students came to the Training for Life Campus to provide free health screenings for the athletes.

“Gary Brimer Sports Camp gives our athletes the opportunity to learn new life skills,” SOMO Training Director Susan Shaffer said. “They will experience a lot of new things and gain life-long friendships along the way. This camp kind of ties back to why we call our campus the Training for Life Campus. We’re giving our athletes an opportunity to train for life, while also having a ton of fun.”

This is our 27th annual camp, but it’s just the third year it’s been named after Gary Brimer. Brimer passed away after a battle with cancer in Nov. 2020, leaving behind a lasting legacy. Brimer began his journey with SOMO in 1976, and he dedicated 41 years of his life to providing year-round sports training and competition to the thousands of athletes in Missouri. He started as a volunteer, but he ultimately became SOMO’s director of sports and training. During his career, Brimer was instrumental in starting this camp. He also led the charge to develop a coaches training program. Brimer retired from SOMO in 2016.

For more information on Gary Brimer Sports Camp, visit